Text by: Jan Yong
Photography courtesy of: La Hilir Tiny House
A family of five starts a new trend of jungle living – in a tiny house the father designed.
In a quiet little ‘café’ by a stream right in the middle of a jungle, I am having delicious smoked beef prepared fresh
onsite. The birds are chirping, the air is crisp and breezy, and I have in front of me my laptop. Welcome to the world of remote working or in this instance, ‘work from jungle’, as Allan Casal, the concept creator says.
The idea came about as a result of Allan and wife, Irena’s, long familiarity with the tiny house concept in America. “We were watching a television show about tiny houses many years ago and promptly fell in love with the concept,”
When Allan’s father-in-law decided to bequeath land to his children, they decided to put in action this long-time dream of theirs – to stay in a jungle environment, yet close enough to town. Giant supermarket is just ten
minutes’ drive away in Kuala Pilah town in Negeri Sembilan.
Affectionately named ‘La Hilir’ (literally translated from Malay as ‘The Downstream’), the name came about due to his mother-in-law who stays upstream referring to the place as ‘downstream’ (or ‘sebelah hilir’ in Malay). The ‘La’ spelling adds a European flavour to it, hence ‘La Hilir’.
“We love to wake up to the jungle surrounding us, serenaded by birds and insects; and having greens all around us. We want our kids to grow up in this kind of environment,” explains Allan who used to have a highflying job in the publishing industry.
The family used to camp at Sungai Pauh in Cameron Highlands, where the kids loved the cool air. “Living in the tiny house is like camping everyday for us,” Allan says in jest.
The multitalented Allan designed the house himself and sourced for special materials such as made-to-order corrugated metal sheets used for the roofing and wall cladding of the tiny house. The house, which took about six weeks to build feels as cosy as any comfortable family home.